Voodoo Ray’s were on my list to try at this year’s Glastonbury, and then the mud happened. The mud that meant what should be a twenty minute walk between stages took forty five, and an hour across festival took two. Glasto is still my favourite place in the world, but that mud was trying and physically exhausting. It also meant I did not make it to Block 9, the temporary home of Voodoo Ray’s for the duration of those amazing days in June. That God damn mud.
Since then I have been meaning to make it to Dalston specifically to try Voodoo Ray’s famed pizza by the slice, American style. Luckily for me, this weekend I stumbled upon their smaller site at Shoreditch’s Box Park. Despite having already eaten lunch and ice cream in the two hours previous, we ordered a slice of the meatiest pizza they do – The Meat Is On: minced steak, pepperoni, ham and pancetta with oozing melted mozzarella; along with a couple of frozen margaritas to wash it down. I can now confirm that yes, it really is worth the hype.
Voodoo Ray’s is described as a New York style pizza joint, so I assumed their pizzas would be the kind of deep pan pizzas you get in the Big Apple, which isn’t really my thing. But instead they have combined the very American concept of buying large hunks of pizza by the slice in a chilled atmosphere with the more favoured Napoli style pizza of Italy, and it’s genius.
First off, these pizzas are HUGE. Measuring at 22 inches across the whole thing, one slice is bigger than my face. Generous with the toppings, there is a great range of choice, including plenty of vegetarian options that sound seriously enticing despite my inevitably wanting the meatiest pizza they do. The Green Velvet – artichoke hearts, green olives, sun blushed tomatoes, mozzarella, tomato sauce and green sauce looks particularly good and there’s even an option that caters to the vegan crowd out there. For the meat lovers there is almost too much choice. The Meat Is On was excellent but I definitely want to go back to try the King Tubby with fennel and chilli sausage, kale, caramelised onions, mozzarella and marinated tomatoes; as well at the Rubenesque with salt beef and sauerkraut. Of course the real joy with this being a New York style pizza place is the fact you can try multiple slices and therefore multiple toppings, though you’d surely struggle to see away more than three of these slices in one sitting, big as they are.
Key to Voodoo Ray’s achieving the real vibe of a NYC pizza joint is the price. Sure, in New York you can pick up a huge slice of brilliant pizza slathered in cheese for $3 a pop, but this in London and nothing ever seems to be much of a bargain anymore. Until now. These slices come in at £4 each, and for such high quality and the sheer size of them, that is a great deal. Dips to see off your crusts come in at 50p each including classic garlic mayo, sweet BBQ and a chili sauce that comes from a secret recipe, and you can also get mac and cheese on the side for a mere £4.50.
Frozen margaritas (£6.50) made with Olmeca tequila saw no complaints from a seasoned margarita drinker such as myself, and a variety of cold beers from around the world will keep others happy. What’s more, the original Dalston outpost is open until 3am Thursday through Saturday so it really does feel like being in the city that never sleeps. Voodoo Ray’s have successfully brought a slice of New York City to East London, and I for one couldn’t be happier about it.